Due to increasing convenience and affordability, musicians have turned to recording albums in their homes, rather than in a professional recording studios. In a city overgrown with music, Athens is home to a few lasting recording studios still offering services once heavily sought by bands looking to sign to a label.
One of these is Studio 1093. From the outside, it’s hard to tell the small white brick building in the Normaltown neighborhood housed a recording studio. Since 1979, Studio 1093 has been nestled on 1093 Boulevard, a quick drive from downtown Athens.
“I know that people working in their rooms and stuff is becoming more popular, but there’s still a necessity for recording studios."
- Annie Leeth, studio engineer and producer
Jim Hawkins, owner of the studio, has been a sound recording engineer since 1966. Before moving to Athens, he worked at the first studio for Capricorn Records in Macon. When he moved to Athens, he decided to contribute his own experience with music to the already thriving music scene by purchasing the building that would become Studio 1093.
“That was my intention when I first bought this building was to build it as a studio. I have a problem where I either want to do something right, or I don’t want to do it. So it took me a long time to get to the decision to do this,” Hawkins said.
Wires and soundboards make up one of the rooms in the studio while another room has space for bands and musicians to play instruments and record music. Hardwood floors and concrete ceilings allow musicians to have an environment with fantastic acoustics so all genres can play music.
“It’s not about our musical taste or anything. It’s just trying to make the music sound good. We are trying to frame someone else’s picture,” Hawkins said.
Most of Hawkins’ business stems from people who want to record music, and from there he sets up a time and date for the band to come in.
Annie Leeth, an engineer and producer at the studio, and fourth year music composition and performance major from Richmond, explained how the studio works.
“Whenever we have a band that we need to book, we come in and record them, or we have an assistant engineer help us too,” Leeth said. “So we are all kind of doing the same thing, but it’s kind of spread out when there’s free time.”
Leeth decided she wanted to work in a recording studio when she was in middle school. Despite people telling her studios were not popular anymore, she held onto her dream.
“If you got something unique, we can get it accurately here.”
- Jeffery Vernon, studio engineer producer
“I know that people working in their rooms and stuff is becoming more popular, but there’s still a necessity for recording studios,” Leeth said. “I didn’t know that until coming to college and having an internship here.”
Hawkins said recording in this studio not only sounds better than recording at home because of acoustics, but he has equipment in the studio that people at home wouldn’t have access to.
“I’ve been in this since the '60s and I tell people I am a vintage engineer,” Hawkins said. “I’ve been collecting equipment for a long time now. A lot of things that I bought new are vintage and hard to find now.”
Jeffrey Vernon, an engineer producer and fifth year marketing and music business major, said the studio has useful equipment for all types of music, from DJs to rappers and every genre in between.
“There are other studios in town, but what I think is special about this one is that I think acoustically, soundically it’s the nicest, and it’s very much a place where you can come and do your very own thing,” Vernon said. “If you got something unique, we can get it accurately here.”
Andrew Huang, producer and studio manager and a recent University of Georgia graduate, likes working with younger artists in the studio to help show them the ropes in the music business.
Huang also mentioned how working in a studio has been rewarding because he gets to see people’s music come together and their musical dreams come to life. He enjoys working in the music studio because he gets to work with talented musicians, as well as help them work help to reach their life-long musical goals.
“For me, I’ve had a lot of joy getting to guide people along and see their first albums come to life," Huang said. "I think right now we are building a sort of community around music and gathering people that want to do music for living and for art.”